I clash with my daughter. She’s six. And I’m not six. I’m not proud of clashing with someone half my size and thirty-ish years younger than me. But, as we are fond of saying here, it is what it is.

And the reason we clash? Because we are the same. I am her and she is me. The things that most exasperate me about myself are now being played out on front of me by my six-year-old.

She’s not good with change, nor am I. But where I’ve learned to deal with change, or at least to hide my discomfort, she reacts with tears. She cried when we had to replace our Skybox, and our new car inspired her to leave a note for us saying “I hate the car” (followed later by a note saying “I love the car” so maybe she’s learning)

I like things just so, as does she. I can take a deep breath when things don’t go to plan, but she hasn’t figured that out yet. Which is why a barbecue is declared “ruined” when there are no burger buns (that was her, not me, I should add).

She’s fussy about clothes and takes ages to decide what to wear. For the same reason, I now lay out my clothes the night before. I got mad at her on Saturday for insisting on changing her shorts at the last minute, though she was late for swimming. “But mum the other ones just didn’t feel right”, she said, looking up at me with her wide green-grey eyes, imploring me to understand. And even as I told her to hurry up and that it doesn’t matter what shorts she wears to swimming, I knew that it did matter, and that it would matter to me too. Except I’m an adult and can choose to change my clothes at the last minute without anyone telling me I can’t. It’s hard being six.

Last night, I was picking out something to wear to work today, and muttering about a presentation. Clara was sitting on my bed and asked what a presentation is. I explained that I’d have to talk in front of a room of people, and that I wasn’t very prepared.

“Tell me the presentation mum, say it for me” she suggested. I said no at first, because I hadn’t gone over it at all yet. But she insisted, and so I ran through what I could remember of the first set of slides, And it sounded just fine, and I suddenly felt better.

“See mum, you were great!” she said, “Now, I’ll help you pick just the right top to go with those trousers”

She picked a top – just the right top as it happens, and then told me all I needed to do was put on some lipstick and some high-heels, and I’d be fine. And she was right, and I was fine, and I told her so, and thanked her for helping me. And she smiled; a beautiful, happy smile, sensing that I really meant it.

It was a glimpse of what the future might look like – when it’s not all about missing burger buns and wrong-coloured-shorts.

Office Mum photo of daughter

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25 thoughts on “Glimpses”

    1. Thanks Naomi – she is lovely, I just need to work on me a bit more, and find ways to be more patient.
      Then maybe she’ll have a daughter and the cycle will continue… (and I’ll show her this!)

  1. I love this article, it is me any my 3rd old daughter to a t! I can really identify with the scenario you described when she wanted to change clothes at the last minute. Sometimes I think we have a habit to impose ‘rules’ on our children that we wouldn’t want imposed on ourselves, and when they’re looking at you pleadingly you can’t help but give in because you understand exactly where they are coming from!

    1. Exactly – we are always telling them they can’t do things which we allow ourselves to do, though of course, we know when to stop (e.g. eating cake) whereas they don’t. But I’m like you – I give in a lot on the small stuff, because I can see how important it is to them. Now I need to find a way to hide my exasperation though!

  2. I know I’m not your target audience but as a work from home Dad I can still very much relate and mostly just really enjoy reading your posts. You always provide a really interesting (and very funny and entertaining ) perspective.

    1. Anyone who will read is my target audience and especially people who leave lovely comments like this one!
      I just happen to be a mother, but this is all about parents and kids and families and work and balance, so you are very welcome 🙂

    1. It is strange, and it’s enlightening and so helpful – it was a huge turning point for me when I finally worked out that she’s like me and that that’s why we have our run-ins. Helps me try harder to think before I react!!

  3. Beautiful post and beautiful daughter! My little man is 6 and it is amazing to hear his comments about things like how beautiful the day is (“its a beautiful day today, isn’t it?”) . He can be grumpy in the mornings and he gets overwhelmed when tired (like his mummy) but like his daddy, he is very patient, and it really gets me when he says “mummy, you have to be patient” 🙂
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    1. Oh he sounds so lovely – and so grown up! They really are so wise and sensitive aren’t they – it always amazes me how much they really understand of the world.

    1. It makes a lot of senses doesn’t it – bonding over commonalities but also being driven mad by the things we don’t love about ourselves. My second child is quite like my husband, and we don’t clash at all – I guess that’s a good thing?!

  4. Just beautiful, I just love that she left those notes!!! And how wonderful is it that ye clash but not when it matters!

    1. Thanks Anna! I should have included a photo of the I hate the car note – I have one somewhere. She will love it (or not) when she’s older…

  5. What a beautiful article (and what a beautiful daughter). You’ve made me reflect and I can see a lot of me in my 3yr old. As a little girl I can remember asking ‘have I been a good girl today mammy?’ (always a desire to please people!)….so now it makes sense why the 3yr old gets so upset by a cross on his ‘good boy chart’. Hmmm the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I love her comment about lipstick and high-heels – I tend to agree – I think they are the answer to many of lifes challenges 🙂

    1. Yes it’s funny how many traits pass down – nature and nurture I guess. I am sure we parent like our parents did, more than we realise too. And absolutely yes to heels and lipstick for any problem!

  6. What a gorgeous daughter you have! I have a mini-me in one of my daughters and my husband has a mini-me in the other. The things that frustrate me in my mini – he doesn’t even notice. The things that drive him crazy about his mini – don’t make me bat an eyelid. Isn’t it funny how that works?! It sounds like the future looks wonderful for the two of you xx
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    1. Oh now that’s interesting – I hadn’t even spotted that my husband isn’t driven as mad by things as I am… That’s funny with your two that you got one each, so to speak. And good too I’m guessing, or it would be a bit unfair 🙂

    1. Thanks Helen! They’re all a mix of all of us I guess, but it’s fascinating to watch it unfold isn’t it (and OK, occasionally maddening, but mostly fascinating 🙂 )

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